The ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday, February 21, was twisted by some elements to give the impression that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) can now field candidates in Zamfara state, Chief Mike Ozekhome has said.
Chief Ozekhome, who is the counsel to Senator Kabiru Marafa and his group, said the appeal court ruling did not ask the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the APC field candidates as was earlier reported.
Instead, the senior lawyer said the court actually dismissed the appeal filed by the APC challenging the judgement of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High court which affirmed INEC’s position that the party cannot field candidates
According to him, the dismissal followed an application by the APC to withdraw the appeal, which was granted.
“The false assertion that the Court of Appeal had cleared the way for the APC to participate in Saturday’s election is therefore a lie from the pit of hell.
“It is nothing short of the desperate manoeuvers by frustrated politician holding on any available straw to smuggle themselves willy nilly into Saturday’s election. This cannot work," Ozekhome said in a statement to Legit.ng.
Read his full explanation of the appeal court ruling below:
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on 21st February, 2019, dismissed the appeal filed by APC challenging the judgment of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, which had affirmed INEC’s stand that the APC did not conduct any primary election in Zamfara state and that INEC was right to have rejected APC’s candidates from Zamfara state. The dismissal followed an application by APC to withdraw the appeal. The application was granted and the appeal dismissed accordingly.
Next was the cross appeal filed by Yari & Co on jurisdiction and cause of action. The judgment given by the Court of Appeal today clearly stated that the appeal partially succeeded and went ahead to set aside the judgment of the lower court on jurisdiction only, but refused to grant the cause of action component of the appeal. By this, the Court of Appeal refused to grant INEC any order to revive candidates of the APC from Zamfara state. The cross Appeal therefore partially failed because, from the onset, APC had a complaint against INEC only. Governor Yari A.A had applied to join the case voluntarily. And Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in her judgment held that APC did not seek any reliefs against the second to 6th defendants" (ie, Governor Yari and co).Therefore, considering the fact that Governor Yari and co did not file any counter claim or cross Appeal against the APC's suit, she had gone ahead to hold that Yari and co "have nothing to add to this case".
From the foregoing, it is clear that the cross appeal by Yari and his group before the Court of Appeal, having partially failed, becomes at best, a mere academic exercise bereft of any utilitarian value to the entire case. The false assertion that the Court of Appeal had cleared the way for the APC to participate in Saturday’s election is therefore a lie from the pit of hell. It is nothing short of the desperate manoeuvers by frustrated politician holding on any available straw to smuggle themselves willy nilly into Saturday’s election. This cannot work.
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INEC is hereby reminded that there exists in addition to the above legal obstacles, a subsisting appeal which arose from the Zamfara state high court judgment which is still extant and pending before the Sokoto division of the Court of Appeal , in appeal no: CA/S/32/2019. In any event, the judgment of the Federal High Court , going by the judgment of the Court of Appeal still partially succeeded, since the Court of Appeal refused to make any clear mandatory orders directing INEC to receive any candidates from Yari group for the purpose of Saturday’s elections. INEC is therefore obligated and legally bound to stand by its earlier well founded position that APC, having never conducted any primaries in Zamfara state, have no candidates in the forthcoming elections in Zamfara state, except the presidential election. Any other act by INEC in fielding any candidates from the Governor Yari’s group or the “G-8” group will be illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
Reports earlier reported that an appeal court sitting in Abuja, on February 21, set aside a judgement of the Federal High Court which affirmed the decision of the INEC to bar the All Progressives Congress (APC) from fielding candidates in Zamfara ahead of the general elections.
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